Wednesday, December 07, 2022

The church and the Eucharist: both/and

In a monstrous ramble of a posting early today, as I came out of blog retirement, for what that's worth, to start remarking on some of the tumultuous church news over the past year and a half — there will be a few more entries before I likely go quiet again — I forgot to mention a few things often set falsely in opposition.
  • A Catholic or Orthodox church is all of the following: a gathering (synaxis) for the local Christian community to pray, a classroom in which to hear the Word in the lessons, "broken open" and learnt in a homily, and, unique compared to Protestants, a temple in which Christ the priest, through the hands of our bishops and priests, pleads his once-for-many sacrifice of himself on the cross, now at our altars, for the quick and the dead.
  • I am hip to modes of presence. The Eucharist is Christ himself, his once-for-many sacrifice of himself pleaded on the altar, the people's sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving (what "Eucharist" means), and a meal (which had a clearer connection to sacrifice in ancient times; animal sacrifices were cooked and eaten), the body of Christ uniting the members of the body of Christ, the Christian community, in Communion. The altar is a table but not just a table.
Traditional Christian worship has all of this!

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